I thought I would write my first post on my website about gratitude–thankfulness. Being thankful has changed me. It has changed my relationship with my husband, my friends and with the Lord. It is a powerful thing–giving thanks. It changed my heart and I guarantee it will change yours too. There is always something to be thankful for. Always! Even in the middle of great trials just turning your heart towards gratitude will give you the strength to endure. Giving thanks in all things makes you victorious already; even when answers or relief hasn’t come.
Gratitude is the gateway to joy. It is difficult to be angry, depressed or anxious when giving thanks. I see things much differently when I am thankful. I have been dealing with chronic sickness and pain for some years. It has been really hard and sometimes I lose hope and spiral down to self-pity and depression but when I stop myself and start to give thanks for all the good things in my life things begin to shift. Truth is powerful. The truth is I have so much to be thankful for. I have good, supportive friends, a husband who loves me, food, shelter and Jesus who completely understands me and loves me. When I begin to verbalize these things my perspective changes and the sickness and pain take a back seat. This isn’t the power of positive thinking. Not at all. I’m not denying the pain I feel. I’m just changing my mind and not giving pain and sickness the front and center of my life. It makes room for joy and being joyful heals our hearts.
What does scripture say?
In a nutshell? Lots! Here are a few scriptures that have helped me along the way.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:6-8 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There are many, many more scriptures about thankfulness and giving thanks. Just take a stroll through the Psalms and you will see just how many times the author says to give thanks to the Lord.
What does science say?
There are many proven scientific benefits of being thankful. It improves sleep and increases energy levels. It is a pain/inflammation reducer, improves relaxation and makes us more resilient; we bounce back from illness, injury and trauma faster. We have better relationships and we are less envious and jealous. Overall we have a better sense of well being. Just from being thankful.
I think God actually knows what He is talking about when He encourages us to be thankful.
More about gratitude.
Thanksgiving is Spiritual Warfare. The enemy doesn’t know what to do when we give thanks in all things. He needs us to be ungrateful.
Being thankful keeps you in the present and really that’s all we have. Right now, at this moment we have everything we need and we can be content and grateful. Gratitude changes your mindset from I don’t have enough to I really do have so much. Thanksgiving removes our feelings of entitlement and we begin to see everything and everyone as a gift. This leads to wanting to bless and serve rather than get.
If you are thankful and give thanks in everything you begin to see how good God is and from what I have seen He is very good.
So I will finish with this. Feeling empty, run-down and tired? Are the thoughts in your head more on the negative side? Start to be intentional about giving thanks. Is everything going right and you’re feeling on top of the world? Start to be intentional about giving thanks. Fill your well with gratitude and watch thanksgiving overflow.